06/23/2004 6:22 PM ET
McKeon names All-Star coaches
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- A highlight in Jack McKeon's lengthy professional baseball career was serving as an All-Star assistant coach representing the National League in 1999 at Fenway Park.
|Jack McKeon will be assisted by Jimy Williams and Clint Hurdle at the 2004 All-Star Game in Houston on July 13. (Al Behrman/AP)
On that historic night in Boston, legendary Ted Williams was honored. Brought onto the field on a cart, the Hall of Famer was recognized by the stars from both leagues in a touching ceremony.
Then the manager of the Reds, McKeon was on hand because he was selected as an assistant by San Diego's Bruce Bochy, the NL manager that year.
"It was quite a thrill to see all those All-Stars out there and to see Ted," McKeon said. "That was a pretty exciting moment."
As manager of the National League All-Stars this season, McKeon on Wednesday selected Astros manager Jimy Williams and Rockies manager Clint Hurdle as his assistants for the July 13 Midsummer Classic at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Because the game is in Houston, McKeon felt it was proper to name Williams.
"That's certainly an honor to be a part of an All-Star team," said Williams, who will be making his fifth appearance as an All-Star coach. "It's here in Houston, it should be a good time.
"It will be fun being around all those special players on both sides, having been in both leagues. I'll watch it and enjoy it."
As for Hurdle, McKeon said: "I wanted to give somebody a chance who hadn't been to an All-Star Game."
McKeon and Hurdle have been friends for years. And when McKeon was managing the Royals in the 1970s, Hurdle was coming up through the Kansas City system.
"Clint was very excited," McKeon said. "He couldn't thank me enough. He had never been there before."
"I was very humbled, completely caught off guard, and respectfully accepted," Hurdle said. "We had contact over the years, just a little touch and go. I've known of him, but we don't exchange Christmas cards or anything like that. I'm looking forward to the opportunity, obviously, and I'm excited about the opportunity."
McKeon said the selection of his two managerial assistants was a tough task because of his ties and associations with the rest of the league.
Williams and Hurdle complete the National League staff. A few weeks ago, McKeon was informed by the league he could select six assistants off the Marlins' staff.
Representing Florida will be assistants Jeff Cox (third base), Wayne Rosenthal (pitching), Doug Davis (bench), Perry Hill (first base), Bill Robinson (hitting) and Pierre Arsenault (bullpen coordinator). All six were on the Marlins' 2003 World Series championship staff.
Arsenault got the nod because last year's third base coach, Ozzie Guillen, is now managing the White Sox.
At the All-Star Game, McKeon says he will likely have Cox coach third base while Hurdle and Williams will rotate coaching first base. But that is subject to change.
Williams has been a third base coach in the past and could coach there at the Midsummer Classic.
"Usually, you will keep your coach at third base," said McKeon, which means Cox would start the game there. "Jimy could also coach third."
When McKeon was an assistant in 1999, he served as a bench coach.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. J.R. Radcliffe and Gene Duffey also contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.